The gladiator’s tears: Epiphora from ancient Rome

Francesco M Galassi, Michael Habicht, Kristina Killgrove, Stefano De Carolis, Massimo Polidoro, Martin Haeusler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article examines the clinical presentation of epiphora in Ancient Rome through the historico-medical analysis of the literary evidence provided by the verses by the poet Juvenal in his Satire VI. A gladiator's ophthalmological problem is interpreted as epiphora caused by traumatic injuries to the craniofacial region, compatible with those described in the paleopathological literature. This analysis also focuses on the history of epiphora in antiquity and its treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1938-1940
Number of pages3
Issue number7
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019


  • Ancient Rome
  • epiphora
  • eye
  • history of medicine
  • trauma

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    Galassi, F. M., Habicht, M., Killgrove, K., De Carolis, S., Polidoro, M., & Haeusler, M. (2019). The gladiator’s tears: Epiphora from ancient Rome. JOURNAL OF CRANIOFACIAL SURGERY, 30(7), 1938-1940.